Are you ready for some football tailgating safety tips! Football season is here. Time for friends to gather, enjoy cookouts and share delicious food. Here are safety tips that will keep you safe and healthy while you are having a wonderful time with family or friends!
First, know that keeping food safe at a tailgate gathering requires the same safe food handling practices as picnicking outdoors because a refrigerator and running water are probably not available. Include lots of clean utensils for preparing and serving the safely cooked food. In addition to a grill and fuel for cooking food, pack a food thermometer to be sure the meat and poultry reach a high enough temperature to destroy any harmful bacteria that may be present.
To keep it simple, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot!
Keep things like lunch meats, perishable cooked foods, potato salad, pasta salads refrigerator cold. You can put ice in a bowl and place the food bowl on top of the ice. To keep foods like soup, chili, and stew hot, use an insulated container. Fill the container with boiling water, let it stand for a three to four minutes, empty, and put in the piping hot food. If you keep the insulated container closed, the food will stay hot for hours. If bringing hot take-out food, eat it within 2 hours of purchase (1 hour if the temperature is above 90 °F). (Per USDA and CDC). Marinated meats are great but make sure you marinade meat in the refrigerator and not on the counter. Avoid reusing marinade or using it to moisten cooked meats. Avoid partially cooking meats and then finishing them at your tailgate. This allows bacteria to grow and multiply before reaching a safe temperature to eat.
Cook food to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria.
Cook all raw beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops, and roasts to a minimum internal temperature of 145 °F as measured with a food thermometer before removing meat from the heat source. (Per USDA and CDC) Cook all raw ground beef, pork, lamb, and veal to an internal temperature of 160 °F as measured with a food thermometer. (Per USDA and CDC) Cook all poultry to an internal temperature of 165 °F as measured with a food thermometer. (Per USDA and CDC)
Use clean platters when you remove your meat from the grill and have plenty of hand wipes, water, and soap available to keep your hands clean!
Lastly, with foods, discard any leftovers that are not ice cold (40 °F or below) after the game. Food should not be left out of the cooler or off the grill more than 2 hours (1 hour when the outside temperature is above 90 °F). No one wants to go home with a food borne illness! These tailgating safety tips will help you and your family and friends stay “food” safe!
You can read more on the CDC’s Food Safety Guidance HERE.
Tail Gate Site Safety
Knowing that there may be a hot grill, sharp knives, glass containers, keep your party safe by having these things on hand!
Fire extinguisher – you may never have a problem, but it’s a good idea to have a fire extinguisher ready. A group near you may experience a fire. Perhaps hot coals are left unattended after cleaning up and start a trash fire. Check the expiration dates on your fire extinguishers.
First aid kit – Is a must! For basic needs during your cookout, you may need Band-Aids, antibiotic ointment, gauze, eye wash, scissors. For more serious injuries you may need a tourniquet to stop bleeding. It may take emergency personnel more time than you think to arrive so be prepared!
Bites and stings – Guard your tailgating site with a couple of Thermacell Rechargeable Mosquito Repellents. These rechargeable repellers keep mosquitoes away, without spray. These small and stylish repellers can protect up to 15 ft. of outdoor space within minutes of turning on. Check them out at Thermacell.com.
For more serious allergic reactions keep Benadryl and hydrocortisone cream on hand.
Stay hydrated – tailgating can be an all-day affair. Have plenty of water available for you and your guests. If temperatures are on the rise or you are dehydrated, I highly recommend using MTN OPS Electrolytes. Check them out and decide what’s best for you. I’ve tried them while hiking, exercising, and being outside all day and found them to be tasty and helpful! They are in powder form so it’s easy to keep MTN OPS with your tailgating supplies. Check the out at this MTN Ops Enduro.
Hide valuables – While you’re inside watching the game, criminals could be winning a game of their own by breaking into vehicles. Leaving valuables at home is never a bad policy when going to a large public forum. If you have valuables in your car, hide them from plain sight in a rapid vehicle safe and keep doors locked and alarms on. There have been times I have needed to leave valuables in my car, and I have left them secured in my Hornady safe. Easy to install, easy to use and secure! Check them out at Hornady.com (You might even find one for your home too!)
Slather up – Don’t leave home without your sunscreen. The temperatures may be coming down, but you still need to protect your skin from the sun.
Take extra precaution while driving in unfamiliar areas – determine your routes before traveling. Know your stops for fuel and food. If you carry personal protection, (firearm, pepper spray, etc), know and understand the policies of the area where you are tailgating. You may need to secure items in your rapid safe in your vehicle.
It just takes a little thoughtful preparation for you to stay safe and stay healthy through tailgating season.
Now for a couple of simple tailgating recipes to try!
Cook taco meat at home and keep warm in a slow cooker. When you are ready to eat, fill a single serving bag of Fritos with taco meat and add any of your favorite toppings! This could be lettuce, shredded cheese, tomato, onion, and sour cream! You won’t need a plate, just a disposable fork!
Simple Guacamole Dip
½ onion finely chopped
1 tomato finely chopped
1 tablespoon cumin
3 tablespoon cilantro fresh or dried
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice
Serve with an assortment of chips and vegetables.
If you are traveling to a game you can read up on traveling safety in this article, Traveling What Ifs.
We hope you enjoy these fun and useful tailgating safety tips!
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